Kavanaugh on track for his Supreme Court robes

Brett Kavanaugh: Key US senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine., ended weeks of suspense Friday, announcing that she will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite the allegations of sexual assault made against him.

Even as Kavanaugh took his oath of office Saturday evening in a quiet private ceremony, not long after the narrowest Senate confirmation in almost a century and a half, protesters chanted outside the court building across the street from the Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the vote was "a pivotal day for us here in the Senate". That would mark an anti-climactic finale to a clash fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump's unyielding support of the nominee, opposing forces that left Kavanaugh's fate in doubt for weeks.

Democrats also challenged Kavanaugh's honesty, temperament and ability to be nonpartisan after he fumed at last week's Judiciary hearing that Democrats had launched a "search and destroy mission" against him fueled by their hatred of Trump.

Republicans control the Senate by a 51-49 margin, and Saturday's roll call vote seems destined to be almost party-line, with just a single defector from each side.

The vice president can vote in the event of a Senate tie.

Democrats said the allegations were credible and deserved a full investigation, while Republicans accused Democrats of using uncorroborated allegations to scuttle or delay the nomination - leading to a stream of angry flashpoints between lawmakers.

While the vote was not necessarily indicative of the final confirmation vote, it moved him one step closer to sitting on the highest court in the land, with three out of four key undecided senators voting "yes" to advance the nomination.

They held signs reading "Kava Nope" and "Shame, Collins", the latter a reference to the announcement by Sen.

"We reached an agreement that it had to be done in seven days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation needed to talk to anyone Dr. Ford mentioned, and also Ramirez and anyone she mentioned", McConnell said.

Sen. Susan Collins of ME, her longtime friend and fellow moderate Republican, spoke on the Senate floor for 45 minutes, explaining her support for Kavanaugh in detail.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, (Retired) administers the Judicial Oath to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in the Justices Conference Room, Supreme Court Building.

"The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard", she said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Kavanaugh's confirmation "a low moment for the Senate, the court, and the country" and said of Kavanaugh, "He doesn't belong on the nation's highest bench".

Collins - a moderate Republican from ME - said Kavanaugh was entitled to the "presumption of innocence" as the allegations against him were not substantiated with corroborating evidence. That previous vote was to limit debate, meaning Kavanaugh's nomination will get a vote probably Saturday. They were surrounded by colleagues from both parties after the vote. To this day, many Americans believe it was Palin that said "I can see Russian Federation from my house" when in fact the line was delivered by Tina Fey.

It's important to remember Collins hasn't had a tight race for Senate since she was first elected in 1996. "I found her testimony to be honest, painful and compelling". In addition, Republican Senator Jeff Flake has also indicated he is a yes vote.

Even so, Collins said she hopes the ugly fight over Kavanaugh's confirmation will raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations against him. Lisa Murkowski turned against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh quietly, uttering a single word: "No".

When Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, Democrats leapt to oppose him, saying that past statements and opinions showed he'd be a threat to the Roe v. Wade case that assured the right to abortion.

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